Each Cells at Work! spinoff has its own flavor while keeping the style of the original. So if Cells at Work! Baby is cute and Cells at Work! and Friends is about foibles, then Cells at Work! Bacteria is . . . well, gross. But it’s meant to be.
Cells at Work! Bacteria follows the good bacteria, bad bacteria, and opportunistic bacteria. White Blood Cell and Red Blood Cell from the original manga are nowhere to be seen. The host the cells live in is a teenage girl with a bad diet and no use for exercise, and the bacteria really deal with the repercussions of this. Meaning gas. And constipation. And diarrhea. And salmonella. There is a scene in this anthropomorphized book when someone literally screams, “Most of the city has been submerged in diarrhea.” (The image that goes with that line actually isn’t as bad as the image that will pop into your head.)
While it deals with these subjects, it isn’t all gross. It might help people picture (albeit not totally realistically) what happens to our bodies when we don’t have a good diet. Or what happens when we don’t take proper care of our skin (there’s a whole section on that, too). And there is still plenty of the cuteness associated with the franchise. Like a scene where a good bacterium says she runs a café where she bakes lactic acid cakes and acetic acid cookies. The anthropomorphism of stuff like that is continually fun in this franchise and part of its appeal.
Cells at Work: Bacteria! is a digital-only release. It would probably be of most interest to people who are already fans of the Cells at Work! franchise, and ones who don’t mind poop jokes.
Story & Art: Akane Shimizu, Haruyuki Yoshida
Publisher: Kodansha USA
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.